Going public with as many clues as possible is the best way to nail a serial predator outside of a lucky DNA match from the offender bank, or the criminal doing something criminally stupid like getting stopped by a cop for dead tags when the body is still in the car.
Sacramento County Homicide Lieutenant Ray Biondi immediately thought this would be a great piece of information to release to the public, but his department balked. "This is something only the killer would know," they objected, "and this secret clue will help prove he is the right guy if he confesses to that in an interview." Biondi disagreed; he knew one of the best ways to catch a serial killer was to put out recognition keys for someone in the public to connect to someone they know. "Sometimes you have to give up something to get something. Revealing, not concealing, is the name of the game," Biondi says.
Support for the investigative team over the long time period these cases are worked is imperative. This is another critical aspect of handling a series of sex crimes. Information overload, case management issues, burnout, and community and media pressure, take a toll on the team. Serial rapes and homicides are the most difficult of crimes to solve because they usually involve offenders with no or little connection to the victim and with serial homicides there is often no witness to any part of the event. The offenders may change victim type, methodology, and jurisdiction. There are often months, if not years, between related crimes and each crime may be handled by a different detective in the department, or detectives from different jurisdictions and they may not even know their cases are related unless DNA links them or someone realizes they may indeed be connected. Then a task force might be created to pull the cases together and the cases looked at together. If no progress appears to be made, the detectives can become extremely discouraged and lose the initiative to keep plugging away at it, year after thankless year.
If the best techniques are followed in handling serial homicide cases, there is a higher chance of seeing a successful outcome, but, even so, sometimes you hit a dead end. And sometimes when all has gone quiet and you think the perpetrator of a series of rapes or sexual homicides has quit, been incarcerated, or died, he pops up again. The East Coast Rapist has done just that, resurfacing after years of quiet. It's time to pull out all the files again and start the process over. Hopefully, this time, the East Coast Rapist will be identified and put out of business. Tweet